PBS This Week in Northern California Series/Special. (2011) New. (CC) (Stereo)
October 7, 2011 7:30 - 8:00pm PDT
the passing of steve jobs raises speculations over what's next for one of the world's most valuable companies. the nation takes hold in the bay area with protest against the country's financial system. but the encampment in san francisco is broken down by police. and the future of california's booming medical marijuana industry is less certain with new federal regulations and dispensaries and their property owners. also, a look at noble prize winner uc berkley scientist perlmutter who discovers that the university is expanding faster than we thought. coming up next.
>> belva: good eef evening. i'm belva davis. joining me on our news panel are michael montgomery, reporter for kqed news, mark calvey, san ran sis cobusiness times reporter and laura sydell with mpr. laura, have we ever seen the kind of outpouring of grief for a see yceo like we have with st jobs.
>> i can't imagine a ceo people feel this way about. more importantly it was the magic he brought to his products. this is a guy who have very early on in his life was really believed that you could enfuse machines with emotion, that you could make people feel something about a machine. and i think his products did that successfully. you know, you talk to people about their mac, and they are often in love with them, right? what other product do you feel that way about? you know? so i think he had an ability to do that. he always talked about how he had the best computer scientists who are also artists and poets and musicians, and that he brought arts and humanity into technology. >> wasn't this crossed at int
entertainment. >> he really geerd his product towards the average guy, towards the person who didn't know how to use a computer. i think you don't often see that in other companies. i have covered a lot of these companies. i don't think they really take the care. he really did care. he was a difficult boss at times, people will tell you that. but he had a way of bringing people up to do their best work. people would say yeah, he was difficult but he's a genius. his head designer came up with amazing designs. they worked closely together where, in away, technology takes a backstage to the thing you want to use it for. so people would fall in love with the device. they could make it theirs. >> you think his death marks the end of an era? >> i really do. i have sat and listened to him unvail a product now over a dozen times. and there was something about him. i was at apple the day before he
died. they unvailed the iphone 4 s. tim cook got up there. he has a nice way about him, but he's not steve jobs. there was something about the passion that steve had that just came through. i don't think we will see that again, you know. >> tim cook, he has been at the helm for awhile. what about this question. bound to continue to be a successful company, probably no doubt about that. the sort of notion that they have a revolutionary company or kpen with this incredible magic, what do you say in your crystal ball on that? >> not that i have a crystal ball, but there's a couple things i would say. i think we will still see great products because there were things in the pipeline. one of the things it is my understanding steve felt strongly about was developing a team that understood how he thought. strangely enough, though, that's almost contrary to what i think
made steve jobs is that this is a guy he dropped out of reed after six months. he went to eindia. he did lsd. he was not your ordinary ceo. he didn't go to business school. he didn't do all those kinds of things. he was an old hippie. i don't think they have that something that he had, that kind of magic. >> belva: he was entrusting to think that somebody would come along and duplicate his magic. he did try to train people to try to transfer this. how did that work? >> well, that's a good question. apple university which is what they are calling it is supposed to teach the apple management style. but of course, that's again, hard to imagine because part of it was his charisma. this was a guy, he had you eating out of his hand.
i used to get out of these press conferences where he would introduce whatever he would introduce. when he introduced the ipad he coulded it revolutionary. i would always call my editor and say get me down to reality because i have been in steve jobs' famous field of distortion. >> belva: there are a few people around that probably could learn from his magic. they are in the financeable institutions of this country. going to turn to mark now and talk about what's going on. there is not a lot of love on the table. >> you've got that correct. there were several protesters again today np front of the san pran sis cofederal reserve. i think they were protesting what they would call the tyranny of wall street. they are upset with what's wrong with our economy today. for many americans, the nation's economy isn't working for them. even such down to earth issues like student loans not being
able to discharge those in bankruptcy was part of the havoc of discussion with the protesters when i went down there this morning. >> what was the main complaint i heard is that this is a group. their reactions across the country seems unfocussed. >> i think you're right about that. didn't have a leader. i think this is a new world of protest within social networking. there can be a coalessing. i think a lot of observers are saying they are tapping into a very deep channel of anger which is likely to spur changes in our country. >> let me ask you on that point. prior to the official kree yacr of the tea party movement, we saw a lot of unfocussed movement. do you think it could actually channel into a real political movement or force? >> i think so.
i think what's going to happen is people are going to latch onto maybe some key issues like the student loan debt which is such a problem. ununemployment, especially when you're coming out of college. i have heard ceos call the college placement a ghost town. i think issues will percolate up that people will gravitate to. i'm hearing similar things about the federal reserve and criticism. you've got both sides of an argument echoing the same point, i think that again reenforces the idea that change is coming. i spoke with san francisco's top. in fact, eve tennessn creation commission.
>> do you think protesters here in the bay area and in new york, do you see a difference? >> yes. because in new york they have thousands gathering. they are becoming much more aggressive. adapting the world of civil disobedience in new york. i think the bay area maybe because we're so used to protest that it's taking time. but i know this morning a lot of people were honking in sympathy as they drove past the protests. >> the banks seem to have not gotten it yet. the announcement about bank of america, fees for using your a, the -- atm. >> the american people are losing in the middle. the same day that president obama sent his jobs bill up to congress, they confirmed they are going to lay off 35,000 over a few years. they are shutting down their mortgage on raegss, bank of
america. seems like banks aren't listening yet. but i know the level of anger is there. i'm confident they are going to start getting the message. >> belva: i guess i wonder, you said also that many of the people you spoke to here were really articulate. that's something maybe we haven't always heard about the people in new york. you said you were kind of surprised. >> i was very surprised that they were able to discuss they feel like the federal reserve is the root of the problem. they understood they were discussing issues like the fractional reserve banking system in this country. this is not your grandfather's protest president it reminds me of michael moore during a premier of love story here in town. somebody afterwards said why didn't you focus on the federal reserve and he says i'm usually having to deal with issues like did the guy get the girl. >> belva: what about the president talking about this? >> i think he's listening. he understands the anger toward
the banks. i think our presidential candidate, president obama and next year with the election, i think they are going to be doing a lot of listening to the people on the streets and even in power about what changes. >> interesting and worth watching. thanks to all of you for joining me here on the program tonight. >> belva: michael montgomery. n. well, michael you have a different story here with medical marijuana. i don't think i have done that before. they are already getting a bad rap from the federal government. >> what really happened today, we had a press conference. four u.s. attorneys standing side by side and they really did throw down the gauntlet for medical marijuana. really saying they are going to go after the sort of economic foundation. we've seen prosecutions over the
years. we've seen a cat and mouse game between the feds and local medical marijuana folks. what's different now is they are saying to property owners, if you rent or lease your land or buildings to either medical marijuana dispensaries, although defense doesn't use that term. they call them stores. or to growers like in the central valley which is a growing issue, we might just seize your land. and that has gotten the medical marijuana a world very worried. i think that the federal government really tried to show that they are very serious about this. this isn't an idle threat. they made that point by standing side by side the four u.s. attorneys. and really, like i said, throwing down the gauntlet. there have been other issues. banks are cutting business time with dispensaries. there have been some court rulings. even the atf said the gun dealers, you shouldn't be selling firearms to people who
are medical marijuana users. an argument that a lot of the advocates are making, the estimates are that california earned from medical marijuana taxes. oakland does quite well on taxing medical marijuana sales or dispensaries. so yes, state government, but particularly local government will take a hit pl the irony is the federal government is saying to local governments, you can't regulate this. it's illegal to try to set up regulatory structures for medical marijuana. we will see what happens with places like oakland or san francisco. >> belva: speaking about the fact that yes, it is tax dollars. why now? >> well, there were those who see a conspiracy. i know that the u.s. attorney has been working on this sense last year. it has taken them a long time to get things lined up.
they are saying is it is out of control. california has become the biggest supplier of marijuana to the rest of the country. medical marijuana is going to non-medical marijuana states. it has become a big headache to law enforcement. they are saying implicitly california hasn't got its act together on this and we, the feds, have to take bigger action. >>. >> belva: what about this larger supply? p. >> the largest dispensary is in oakland, possibly in the country. they have had a long running battle with the irs over their business deductions. and they lost at least the first round of that battle. irs says they owe them $2.4 million. the owner says if they do that it will wipe out the industry.
>> why would they appeal. >> they are saying they should be able to deduct operating expenses and the feds say no. this is the irs, not the u.s. attorney's office. >> do you see evidence that in fact there is a lot of criminal activity around this. there are reasons that the feds really should be worried? are you seeing that. >> it is clear evidence of growers growing large quantities of marijuana in california and shipping to other states where the profits are higher. marijuana grown in california, high quality marijuana from california goes for two or three times the price in other states. so, there's definitely a lot of trafficking. that's been an uptake in violence, not so great that it is on the front page of the newspapers, but the police are definitely worried about it. >> belva: any rumors of clubs that have decided to fold? >> not yet. dozens of letters have gone out to the bay area, southern
california. they have been given 45 days to cease operations or face possible seizure of the property. >> belva: and that applies to the property owners plus what they have on the property. >> right. >> belva: again, my thanks to all of you for joining me here tonight. >> pleasure. uc berkley scientist perlmutter is one of three to share this year's noble prize in physics. the universe is being stretched by dark energy and expanding at an accelerated rate. in this excerpt from kqed, perlmutter explains. >> i thought we should know how the world works around it. we live on this. someone should have given us
notice about how the whole thing fits together and how you use it. >> in 1998 perlmutter was part of one of two teams that discovered the expansion of the universe had started to accelerate. what exactly does it mean, that the expansion is accelerating? first, you have to understand that the universe is infinite, not an easy concept to grasp. >> just imagine you are living here on a galaxy and it is forever going that way and there are galaxies forever going that way. just imagine that there is a typical distance between those galaxie galaxies. when we say it is accelerating we mean that extra pumping is happening faster and faster and the distances are growing bigger and bigger more and more quickly. >> so how did perlmutter's team figure out the history of the universe. they did so by looking at the light from stars that exploded billions of years ago.
sitting in a room at the berkley lab, perlmutter and physics student hannah swift are connected to one of the world's largest telescopes, the tech 2 in hawaii. the other half of their team is actually in hawaii. their plan for the night is to confirm that five supernovi, previously identified through another telescope are the type 1 a supernovi they need for their research. >> it exploded in a very similar way every time. so they brighten like fireworks and fade away, but they reach the same. >> their predictability, researchers call standard can dals. since researchers know light always travels at 186,000 miles per second, they are able to calculate how long ago these super nova exploded. >> the light starts spreading autoin all directions, much like
the ripple from water spreads out when you drop a pebble into the lake. the range in which we're studying to see the acceleration was so far the light was coming towards us from a time where the clouds or gas were coalessing into what became our solar system. while the light is traveling to us through the universe, the universe is expanding. everything in the universe is not nailed down expands with the universe. that includes the very wavelength of the photons of light. >> in astronomy, this phenomenon is known as red shift. >> how much light is shifted towards the red in its appearance, you now can read off the history of the expansion of the universe because the breegtness tells you how far back in time any event occurred. the red shift tells us how much
the universe has expanded since that time. now we just do this for five were 10, 20, at different times it is back in history. they one after another tell us how much it has stretched since that time. >> even though astronomers have become the historians of the universe, they can only speculate about what's causing this stretching. >> an example of this could be that there is extra dimensions in the universe beyond the three dimensions that we know. other things like perhaps gravity could not be limited and maybe it can seep into one of these extra dimensions and that would make it look to us that it is becoming diluted. that's perhaps how the universe could become accelerated.
>> or it could be caused by a new form of energy. this dark energy might be the missing force that sheds light on how gravity, the force that works on a large scale fits in with the forces that bind atomic particles together. could this be the key of unifying everything. >> doesn't mean any crazy idea will be the right one. but it allows you to play a little bit. then we're hoping we will get actual measure ms that will pin it down. >> researchers say that the only way to discard the inaccurate hypothe sis is to observe closer. to do this perlmutter's team designed a satellite that would carry a telescope more powerful than the hubble into space. the design of the supernova probe, s.n.a.p. for short they
are incorporating other ideas. scientist plan to have the mission's final design soon. so long as dark energy continues to be a mystery, it is unclear what the future of the universe might be. it could well be the universe will stretch into nothingness or the whole thing will reverse and contrapt into a mig collapse. for now, perlmutter is enjoying his privileged bandage points. >> we may have found just the right spot to come to so we are at just the right scale to be able to enjoy looking out at the space above us and down into the microscopic world beneath us. i think it is just about the right time in history to be able to look back at the early hot, fiery big bang period and project into the future of what we might get to see. we are in a medium. i think it is a nice place to
be. >> belva: and, before we close tonight, it is with great sorrow that i report the death of my friend and mentor, political reporter roland post. he died monday at the age of 81 after a long and distinguished career. we worked together at three television stations over a span of 33 years. first at kpix then here at kqed where he was a member of the newsroom staff and other programs. he then moved to kron tv. roland's knowledge of state and local politics couldn't be matched. known by many as the dean of political newscasting, he was often called on for his opinion on national issues. he inspired those around him to love and respect what a democratic society offers each individual and that is the right and obligation to speak out about how we are governed preponderance of the evidence. the uc berkley grad covered nine
presidential campaigns and 18 national conventions. work brought us together while we shared little in our background. we did share the same values about the importance of journalism and its role in maintaining in open society. he often put his relationship with key contacts on the line by peeking up for me when my race and gender provided roadblocks to access. it was from him that i learned much of what has shaped my career. roland post was a no frills reporter. his reputation was so strong that when a producer of the classic political film "the candidate" was being made starring robert redford, he was asked to play himself, the tough questioner. he had family, politics and baseball, his three loves. he leaves beheen his wife of 57 years, diane, daughters lauren
and cynthia and son kenneth as well as five grandchildren. for more on the life of roland post, the legacy of steve jobs and the federal government's new crack down on medical marijuana, please visit us on line at kqed.org/this week. you can also watch the complete quest story about saul perlmutter. i'm belva davis. good night.
gwen: if you like playing scrabble, this was your week, in politics, on capitol hill, and, soon, at the supreme court. politics, on capitol hill, and, soon, at the supreme court. it was all over the place.